2014 Toyota Corolla debuts with more power, interior space

2014 Toyota Corolla debuts with more power, interior space

June 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Toyota Depending on who you ask, the best-selling car in the world is either the Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla . Not surprisingly, Toyota claims it’s the Corolla. Either way, we’re talking around a million individual units per year, and over 40 million over the car’s lifetime on the market, so the redesign of Toyota’s compact sedan is big-time news for the Japanese automaker that it needs to get right. The Toyota Corolla was last redesigned way back in 2008, meaning the 2014 model is a long-overdue update to the C-segment sedan. Its age shows when compared to newer rivals like the Honda Civic , Chevy Cruze , Hyundai Elantra and the aforementioned Ford Focus when comparing technology features, fuel mileage and interior roominess. In an effort to solve those demerits, Toyota has added nearly four inches to the 2014 Corolla’s wheelbase and will offer a new continuously variable transmission with seven simulated gear ratios. Engine choices consist of two available 1.8-liter four-cylinder units, one with 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, and another more efficient version that uses Toyota’s new Valvematic technology to offer 140 horses and 126 lb-ft of torque. Eco and Sport modes will be selectable by the driver. Fuel mileage jumps to an estimated highway rating of “over 40 miles per gallon,” says Toyota, when properly equipped. We take that to mean the CVT, as the base L model is still saddled with an old-as-dirt four-speed automatic.

Is Consumer Reports losing its sway? Are we all?

Is Consumer Reports losing its sway? Are we all?

November 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , Hyundai , Toyota Do the opinions of automotive journalists matter? For us, that may be a bit of transcendental self-examination, but for the consuming public, it’s a very real question. Is a potential customer of a new family sedan going to rely completely on Consumer Reports , or are they willing to go with their own gut feelings and neighbors’ recommendations? Bloomberg has an interesting new report highlighting cars that are selling well in spite of not receiving high marks from Consumer Reports . One such vehicle is the 2012 Honda Civic , which has been largely derided by the automotive press. Yet sales of the Japanese compact are on pace to beat out vehicles like the acclaimed Chevrolet Cruze . One criticism offered for CR’s methods is their approach of putting all types of vehicles through the same type of testing. The Chrysler Town & Country as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan were given low marks for their performance in the slalom-the same slalom in which sports cars are tested. How important is that in buying a minivan? While cars from Korea and the United States are increasingly lauded by the automotive community, owners of brands like Honda and Toyota remain fiercely loyal.

Automakers tussle over owners of ‘orphan’ makes

Automakers tussle over owners of ‘orphan’ makes

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Marketing/Advertising , Chevrolet , Ford , GM , GMC , Hummer , Lincoln , Mercury , Pontiac , Saturn , Toyota When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car. R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those ” orphan owners” have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze , Caddillac CTS or a GMC Acadia . Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln . Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners. As Forbes points out, if you’re driving an orphaned nameplate, you just might be able to use that to your advantage when shopping for a new vehicle.

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